What’s new and news with Currentseams

Happy Saturday, everyone. Just some quick notes from your humble host. First, I hope everyone’s making through winter OK. Courage! Spring will be here soon. Thanks for your readership.

~ Speaking of reading, I’ve been writing. Just finished up a piece for Eastern Fly Fishing on the Farmington River. Many thanks to everyone who helped out, including but not limited to Torrey Collins, Don Butler, Steve Hogan, Neal Hagstrom, Brian Eltz, and of course my editor extraordinaire, AKA Mrs. Culton. It should be out later this year. And my Housy piece in the same mag should drop any day now.

~ I see Currentseams is very close to 700 followers. Once we reach and stabilize that number, we will have another subscriber appreciation drawing. Get six of your friends to follow!

~ My tying weekend at Legends is sold out. If you’re one of the people who signed up, many thanks for your support.

~ I hope you’re enjoying my “Best of North Country Spiders” series. We still have a few more to go.

~ Finally, my guiding rate card has changed (you can see it here). This reflects the ever-growing cost of doing business, what the local market is currently bearing, and brings me into line with my peers. Or, as Aunt Eller sang in Oklahoma!:

“I don’t say I’m no better than anybody else, but I’ll be danged if I ain’t just as good!”

Aunt Eller

Tight lines to all.

 

 

 

 

Space Still Available for Legends Fly Tying Weekends

Sal at Legends on the Farmington is not only a good guy, but also a small engine whisperer. Yesterday my snow blower wouldn’t start, and I happened to be on the phone with Sal as I was driving to get a new spark plug. Sal opined that stale gas was the culprit. Bingo! Some fresh petrol in the chamber and she started right up.

Speaking of Sal, he tells me that Legends on the Farmington has a few openings left for their Fly Tying Weekends with Steve Culton (that’s me) March 22&23 (1 opening and room for a guest) and Bruce Marino February 22&23 (2 openings and room for a guest)  These are all inclusive $295.00 two night stays, breakfast Saturday and Sunday, Saturday Fly Tying and how to fish the Farmington, dinner Saturday night, BYOB.  Bring a participating guest to share your room for $159.00 or a nonparticipating guest for $89. Meals included for all guests. Contact Legends directly at 203-650-8767 or email legendsbnb@hotmail.com.

We’ll be tying buggy soft-hackled goodness like this.

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Best of North Country Spiders: Partridge and Orange

He probably had no idea, but the first angler who took a feather from the game he’d shot and attached it to a hook with some thread borrowed from his wife’s sewing kit was creating a classic. Today, there’s something poetic about catching a trout on a pattern that is hundreds of years old. From Olde England’s North Country to New England, nothing is lost in translation. I like the Partridge and Orange as a caddis imitation. It also makes a fine spinner.

Partridge and Orange

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Hook: Dry or wet fly, 12-16
Body: Orange silk
Hackle: Grey speckled partridge
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Tying Notes: If you’re new to soft hackles and North Country Spiders, this a great place to start. By varying the color of the thread and the size of the hook (and even the color of the partridge — the back is covered with brown speckled feathers) you can match just about any hatch. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

 

Best of North Country Spiders: Snipe and Purple

I will not go small wild trout stream fishing, big stream trout fishing, or steelhead fishing without the Snipe and Purple in my box. I particularly like this fly as a midge imitation, seductive hackles fluttering in the current. One day on the Salmon River in Pulaski, my only steelhead came on a Snipe and Purple as it rose off the bottom and swung toward the surface. Try it as a dropper off a bushy dry on a small stream.

Snipe and Purple North Country Spider

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Hook: Wet or dry fly 12-18
Body: Purple silk
Wings: Snipe wing over-covert
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Tying Notes: When I tie this fly for steelhead, I use a 2x strong 1x short size 12-14 hook. I’ll also add a gold rib. Like all North Country Spiders, you can add wiggly leg and wing mass by making more hackle wraps. If you can’t find snipe, try starling. Bonus! The video tutorial for the standard issue fly is right here.

Best of North Country Spiders: Sandy Moorgame

Like a soft-hackled Pheasant Tail, the Sandy Moorgame can look like nothing in particular, but a lot of things in general. Think smaller mayfly nymphs (this is a terrific pattern to place as the top dropper in your nymph rig) and little brown stones when you tie on this classic North Country spider. I have no proof, but in any given year I’m guessing that I’m the only angler on the Farmington River fishing the Sandy Moorgame. (You should do something about that.)

Sandy Moorgame

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Hook: Wet or dry fly 14-18
Body: Dark brown silk
Wings: Hackled with a dark reddish-brown feather from the back of a grouse
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Tying Notes: Simplicity rules the day. If you’re being a stickler for authenticity, use English grouse, which is different from some of the other grouse skins available. You could dress the fly more heavily than I’ve done here (two wraps of hackle) — try three or four for some extra wings/legs creepy crawly emerger action. You can find a general North Country spider video tutorial here.

Best of North Country Spiders: Black Magic

When the hatch is black caddis, I know of no other more bewitching soft hackle brew than the Black Magic. What else would you expect from a North Country spider with a peacock herl thorax? The white fly hatch gets all the juice on the Hous in August, but there’s also a substantial black caddis hatch around the same time. If you’re targeting smallmouth, tie the Black Magic on a 2x stout hook, size 14, or try a size 12 1x short shank. Make it the top dropper on a two fly team (white fly on the bottom) — and hold on.

Black Magic

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Hook: 12-18
Body: Black silk
Thorax: Peacock herl
Hackle: Black hen
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Tying notes: I attach the hackle, wind the silk, then attach and wrap the herl forward to the hackle tie-in point. Move the thread to the head of the fly, wind the hackle, and whip finish.

Farmy Photo Shoot and a Mini Small Stream Outing

Out to the Farmington today to take some scenics for my upcoming feature in Eastern Fly Fishing. As you might have imagined, the warm weather brought out anglers in force; it seemed like every major pool or run had a rod probing its depths. Didn’t see any fish hooked. Wished I was fishing. But I had decided to visit a small stream after my photography work was done.

Not surprisingly, much of it was unfishable. Part of this brook flows through a hollow, and the sun had yet to work its melting magic.

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I did find some relatively open water. Not a touch for me today; again, no surprise, probably due to snow melt which tends to drop that water temp. Here’s a helpful small stream hint: sometimes I purposefully cast my line or leader over a rock to hang up the fly in the current. The waking fly is particularly attractive to kamikaze wild trout. I try to make sure the fly is holding over a likely lie. In this case, I was fishing a dry/dropper — this is a great tactic for a submerged soft hackle. You can see the leader going over the left third of the rock; the fly is at 10 o’clock.

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